Annakut loot of Shrinathji

Annakut loot of Shrinathji

Annakut loot of Shrinathji

By Bansari Pujara

Shrinathji is a form of Lord Krishna, a prominent Hindu god, known by many names, worshipped by many in many forms and loved by even more. The icon of Shrinathji is specific as the deity symbolises that form of Krishna, when he lifted the Govardhan hill, to protect the inhabitants of Vrindavan from a downpour of rain sent by Indra, the King of Devas. Millions of devotees flood at the doorstep of their lord, in Nathdwara, not just yearly, but at every so often. On account of this popularity, the town is referred by “Shrinathji” itself. Every occasion has different rituals to be followed, different customs to be carried out.

Every year, a day after Diwali, a ritual is celebrated, which is unique in itself. The home of the caste system, where the Lord himself was a herdsman, the fellow herdsmen of this generation, are usually barred from entering the temples. But once a year, the Bhils (A tribal community) flood the gates of their deity to “LOOT” the annakut prasad and heaps of grains and other eateries. These communities, in the past, were usually denied entry in the temple, but now they are not only allowed in but are cheered and welcomed in to come and loot these grand offerings to the god, which they consume till the next year’s “Annakut” loot. They offer their prayers and proceed with the loot.

The men of the Bhil community have celebrated this tradition, giving their best in the raid. They compete to get the most of the grain and at times tripping over each other. But this is considered to be their day, where the others are simply the spectators.

On this auspicious day, the devotees cherish the time when young lord Krishna lifted the hillock of  Govardhan with his little finger to neutralise the anger of lord Indra, the rain god. They do so after the loot, by performing the Govardhan Puja. A heap pf cow dung is placed in the temple and bedecked with flowers, as a symbol of the Govardhan. This is worshipped by the devotees in a sense to feel closer to their lord.